Top Afghan, Pakistani officials review Taliban reconciliation   2011-09-16 13:29:54 FeedbackPrintRSS

ISLAMABAD, Sept.16 (Xinhua) -- Top Pakistani and Afghan diplomats, intelligence and defence officials are scheduled to meet in Islamabad on Friday to review progress on the reconciliation in Afghanistan, officials and diplomats said.

An Afghan diplomat told Xinhua that Afghan side would seek information on any contact Islamabad has established with the Afghan Taliban as part of the reconciliation process at the Joint Commission on Peace and Reconciliation meeting.

Afghanistan Deputy Foreign Minister Jawed Ludin has arrived in Islamabad to lead his side, spokesperson for the Afghan embassy said. Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir will head the team of Pakistani officials, the Foreign Ministry said.

Intelligence and military representatives from both sides will also attend the meeting, said Tehmina Janjua, the spokeswoman for the Pakistan foreign office. She told reporters in Islamabad that issues of reconciliation will be discussed.

The two sides will meet to prepare the agenda for a meeting scheduled between Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai next month in Kabul.

Afghanistan and Pakistan had formed a two-tier commission in April when Gilani flew to Kabul to persuade the Taliban to join the reconciliation process. But Pakistani and Afghan officials now admit that the reconciliation process has stalled since the commission had been set up to bring Taliban to the negotiating table.

Both sides will also discuss mutual cooperation, said an Islamabad-based Afghan diplomat requesting anonymity.

Afghanistan believes that the recent tension between Pakistan and the U.S. has negatively impacted the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the Afghan diplomat said. But he said that the arrest of a senior al-Qaida leader in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta this month with cooperation by the U.S. intelligence has raised hopes for revival of Pakistan-U.S. normal relationship which will have positive impact on Afghan peace process.

Access to Taliban leaders, Afghanistan would also like access to Taliban leaders captured by Pakistan, including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, revealed a senior Afghan diplomat. Baradar was nabbed by Pakistani forces from Karachi in 2010 on a tip-off by U. S. intelligence operatives.

Sources said Pakistani side would raise the issue of incursion into its territory by militants from Afghan territory. Pakistan army said that up to 300 armed militants from Afghanistan attacked seven Pakistani border posts on Aug. 27 in the border district of Chitral and killed nearly 28 Pakistani security men.

Special Report: Afghanistan Situation

Editor: Xiong Tong
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